The failed Detroit airliner bomb attack on Christmas Day awakened the world to the threat from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a group that until then was hardly a household name.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a young Nigerian who allegedly came within an ace of killing almost 300 passengers and crew with a bomb hidden in his underwear, said he had been trained and sent by its leaders.
US President Barack Obama’s embarrassment and anger at the potentially catastrophic failure of intelligence which allowed Mr Abdulmutallab to board the plane has been compounded by the revelation that two of AQAP’s founders, Said al-Shihri and Mohammed al-Awfi, were both former Guantanamo detainees.
Several AQAP foot soldiers are also former Guantanamo prisoners.
This only confirms the fears of critics vehemently opposed to Mr Obama’s promise to close the prison camp by the end of this month.
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